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Tis the season… for car commercials featuring big red bows on top of cars sitting in a driveway. We all know the ones. Don’t pretend you don’t. And I’m sure Mercedes-Benz has run their own version of such a spot in its past and may in fact be running one as we speak.
What does matter is their holiday spot running now called “Snow Date.” According to Mark Aikman, General Manager, Marketing Services at Mercedes-Benz USA, the concept began as a snowed-out high school reunion and unrequited love. However, it evolved through some suggestions from the Vice President of Marketing at Mercedes-Benz USA, Drew Slaven, into a story about a first date, and after some brainstorming “Snow Date” was born.
Hit Me Where I Live
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, when telling stories brands need to hit that “emotional quotient” – that innate part all us humans have. The part of us that gets moved to an emotional response. I of course realize I may not be the target audience Mercedes-Benz had in mind when creating this spot but be that as it may, “Snow Date” hit me where I live.
According to Aikman, one of the brand’s primary goals in the coming years is to become the most loved brand of our customers. To do this, says Aikman, they “will plan to continue to create emotional connections with our customers through powerful storytelling.”
Winter Wonderland Only?
As you can see this is a very winter-themed spot what with the snow and wind all that good stuff. So my initial thought was ‘this will only air in cold-weather areas.’ That is not the case as Aikman told me the spot will run across the whole country in specific placements that will have high visibility. “We believe this is a human story and brand level topic of how are vehicles empower consumers to live their lives, so it will not only be for the cold weather climates.”
In terms of metrics and KPIs says Mercedes-Benz measures all of their TV creative through various methods which will allows them to see the watchability, communication of information, breakthrough nature, product relevance, and benchmark against other automotive ads in market.
“Since airing the spot,”he adds “multiple other markets have decided to air this spot outside of the US.” Aikman said they are also delighted by the influx of positive feedback on the spot from customers, friends and dealers.
The N.A.S. Doctrine
Back in 2014 – and Lord does that seem like a million years ago in many ways, I wrote a post on LinkedIn Presenting The N.A.S. Marketing Doctrine. Cutting right to the chase N.A.S. stands for Not Always Selling as in there are no laws, at least that I am aware of, that forbid you Mr. and Mrs. Marketer from actually creating and delivering a piece of collateral that has nothing to do with selling.
By now every marketer is aware, at least they better be, that A) the consumer is in complete control of essentially everything and B) they do not want to be bombarded with one sale after another, no matter how incredible it is.
The reason I invoke The N.A.S. Doctrine in this case is simply because Mercedes-Benz did not try and sell me anything in this particular spot. No Zero % Financing. No Zero Down Payment. No Special Lease Rates.
Building brand equity is one of the hardest things a brand can ever do with maintaining said equity a close second. The way to build equity is not hard; it’s not complicated; it’s not brain surgery.
It’s just treating consumers with the same level of respect you want to be treated yourself Mr., Mrs. and Miss CMO. Do you like to be presented with a sales pitch every single time you engage with a brand? Of course you don’t. Well maybe some of you do but hey, that’s on you.
The majority of us don’t and the brands that get that very simple concept will build that all-important and much-coveted brand equity. Of course you also need to provide a quality product and be honest and forthright, etc. But in this context of sell/not sell… it’s painfully obvious.
Invoke The N.A.S. Doctrine. You can thank me later.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.